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Catalog Data

Created by:
Rashaun Rucker, American, born 1978  Search this
graphite and paint on paper
H x W x D (frame): 32 1/8 × 26 × 2 3/8 in. (81.6 × 66 × 6 cm)
H x W (work): 23 3/4 × 18 in. (60.3 × 45.7 cm)
multimedia works
Place made:
Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan, United States, North and Central America
Rashaun Rucker is best known for his work dealing with Black male identity and social conditioning. In his Psychological Redlining series, he merges portraits of African American men with images of rock pigeons. Rock pigeons are generally viewed as urban, unclean nuisances. Rucker asserts that people perceive Black men much the same way—essentially pigeonholing them psychologically into a space where they don’t belong. The red cages framing each portrait relates to redlining, a systemic real estate policy demarcating communities of color by red lines on a map to limit access to home loans, insurance, and even grocery stores. Rucker says he created these images to “communicate why we as Black men often don’t fly, even though we have the ability to go far and beyond our circumstance.”
This is a mixed media portrait of a man with a pigeon emerging from the top of his head, framed within a red frame in the shape of a birdcage. The graphite portrait shows the man from the nose up. His head is shown rising up from below the bottom of the frame. He faces front, with a very slight tilt of his head to the right. His gaze is directly on the viewer. The bird emerging from the crown of his head is shown from its neck upward. Its head is turned slightly to the left, giving a quarter profile. The portrait is enclosed in a frame of red paint creating a birdcage shaped like a house. The two sides consist of wide red lines while the bottom is a thinner red line. The top of the “cage” is a solid red triangle while its underside forms a dome. The artist's signature "Ruck" appears just above the man's proper right ear.
African American  Search this
Art  Search this
Identity  Search this
Men  Search this
Mental health  Search this
Race discrimination  Search this
Stereotypes  Search this
Urban life  Search this
Credit Line:
Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Partial gift of Arthur Primas and Jumaane E. N’Namdi and museum purchase.
Object number:
Restrictions & Rights:
© Rashaun Rucker
Permission required for use. Proper usage is the responsibility of the user.
See more items in:
National Museum of African American History and Culture Collection
Psychological Redlining (13 Studies)
Visual Arts
Reckoning: Protest. Defiance. Resilience.
On View:
NMAAHC (1400 Constitution Ave NW), National Mall Location, Culture/Fourth Floor, 4 052
Data Source:
National Museum of African American History and Culture